Body Hair and Self Image

 

It is only very recently that I’ve been able to accept my body hair whole heartedly. This might not seem like a big deal but trust me it’s been a long time coming.

 

I’d like the preface this by saying that I know that I’m not the hairiest person. I haven’t had to deal with facial hair or dark/thick hair on my arms, hands, back, ect. I don’t want people to read this post and think I’m only ‘advocating’ for a certain level of hairiness that still falls within European beauty standards, because I’m not doing that at all. All hair is good and cute. This post is about the experience I had learning to accept my own body hair. I’ve got no problem with anyone else’s. Also if you do shave, that’s fine too.

Like most young girls in the ‘western world’ I felt the need to shave as soon as my body hair was visible. At the time there was this immense pressure to shave. I had friends who shaved their legs and underarms as young as eleven – I was still in primary school.

I started shaving/waxing at thirteen and kept doing so for most of high school. I was never the type to shave everyday and with waxing there actually needs to be some growth for it to be ripped out so I had these in between days/weeks of being hairy. I was pretty ashamed of my body hair at that point, so I only ever wore pants and clothes that covered my leg hair. With shaving came dry skin, ingrown hairs, cuts on the backs of my knees, and, a lot of lost time and money.

Later on I learnt about how women’s razors came about. We hadn’t been removing our body air since the dawn of time! It was an advertising strategy to sell more fucking razors.

And that bullshit developed into the full blown sexist double standard we hold today. ‘Hair on a women is a disgusting vector for disgusting things and I would literally rather gouge my eyes out than have to look upon a hairy lady’ Yikes, society.

So I stopped shaving for these reasons;

  • save my skin some irritation
  • save myself some time
  • save myself some money
  • stop perpetuating as sexist double standard

Wish I could tell you it was amazing directly afterwards and that I ran through field of wild flowers with my body hair flowing freely in the breeze. But after I stopped shaving I still held all of the toxic shit about being disgusting. I was really scarred of the reactions from other people. To the point that I wouldn’t even show my bare legs around my family – hell I barely looked at them myself!

It took baby steps for me to unlearn all of that stuff. Seeing more hair positive things in the media and around the internet really helped me to be more accepting of my hair. I even brought some positivity into my own art.

So my first little step was not giving a shit about my underarm hair. It was there, it was growing and I started throwing my arms in the air because I just don’t care about your (yes you hypothetical person) thoughts on the matter.

It stayed that way for a while. I was still in jeans all the time, not ready or even willing to bare my legs. I worked up the nerve to wear mini skirts and dresses but always with stockings or thigh highs. Around this time I started getting more into clothes and style type stuff. I started to realise how limited I was because of this leg hair business. Thigh high socks are not as friendly in the summer months.

Cut to my first midi skirt. It has this lovely lace skirting at the bottom which sort of covered my legs without covering my legs. It was great. So great that I bought another skirt. No lace on this one.

The first time I chickened out and wore it with socks. But I really didn’t like that look. I built up some nerve and wore the skirt with some low socks and doc martins to uni one day. There was a solid ten centimetres of hairy leg out for the world to – ? What sort of reaction was I even so afraid of?

This was very recent. The skirt I’m talking about is in an outfit post about how I love midi skirts.

Since then I have basically stopped giving a fuck about the hair on my legs too. It was such a weight off. I’m going to start branching out with my clothes a bit more, I can wear shorts and not care! I don’t have to sweat it out in the summer time! I don’t have to stick to outfits that hide my hair away!

Maybe one day soon I will take that beautiful slow motion run through a field of wild flowers.

 

 

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